1 . Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN) 

Reasons for being in news

GIAN course on Urban Analytics: Evaluating and Measuring Sustainability of Cities was  inaugurated  at a function in Roorkee on 4th June,2018 .

About Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN)

Govt. of India approved a new program titled Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education aimed at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.

The GIAN  initiative  provides participation of foreign faculty as Distinguished / Adjunct / Visiting faculty / Professors of Practice, etc. in delivering Short or Semester-long Courses in IITs, IIMs, Central Universities, IISc Bangalore, IISERs, NITs and IIITs and subsequently cover good State Universities.

Implementing Ministry

Ministry of Human Resource Development


The proposed GIAN is envisaged to achieve the following objectives:

1. To increase the footfalls of reputed international faculty in the Indian academic institutes.
2. Provide opportunity to our faculty to learn and share knowledge and teaching skills in cutting edge areas.
3. To provide opportunity to our students to seek knowledge and experience from reputed International faculty.
4. To create avenue for possible collaborative research with the international faculty
5. To increase participation and presence of international students in the academic Institutes.
6. Opportunity for the students of different Institutes/Universities to interact and learn subjects in niche areas through collaborative learning process.
7. Provide opportunity for the technical persons from Indian Industry to improve understandings and update their knowledge in relevant areas.
8. Motivate the best international experts in the world to work on problems related to India.
9. Develop high quality course material in niche areas, both through video and print that can be used by a larger body of students and teachers.
10. To document and develop new pedagogic methods in emerging topics of national and international interest.

Scope of GIAN

Initially proposals are invited on the following areas:

(i) Physical Sciences
(ii) Chemical, Bio-Chemical & Material Sciences
(iii) Mathematical & Computer Sciences
(iv) Life Sciences, Medicine & Healthcare
(v) Electronics, Electrical, Information & Communication Technology
(vi) Mechanical Sciences & Infrastructure
(vii) Earth & Environment Sciences
(viii) Management
(ix) Social Sciences and Law
(x) Humanities & Liberal Arts
(xi) Architecture, Design, Planning and Heritage
(xii) Other Categories / Interdisciplinary categories.
Other areas can be included in future.


2 . Methanol Economy

Reasons for being in news

NITI Aayog is preparing a road map for a full-scale implementation of Methanol Economy in the near future.

What is a methanol economy?

The methanol economy is a suggested future economy in which methanol and dimethyl ether replace fossil fuels as a means of energy storage, ground transportation fuel, and raw material for synthetic hydrocarbons and their products. It offers an alternative to the proposed hydrogen economy or ethanol economy.

In the 1990s, Nobel prize winner George A. Olah advocated a methanol economy.

Why methanol is being seen as an enduring solution to human energy needs?

Methanol has the potential to be an enduring solution to human energy needs because the beltched out C02 (greenhouse gas emission) both from using Methanol and while producing Methanol can be tapped back to produce Methanol. Thereby a seamless loop of CO2 sequestration cycle is created to perpetually burn fuels without polluting the environment at all. C02 from steel plants, Thermal Power plants, Cement Plants etc. can be tapped in large quantities to produce Methanol.

Countries pursuing  “Methanol Economy”

The Concept of “Methanol Economy” is being actively pursued by China, Italy, Sweden, Israel, US, Australia, Japan and many other European countries. 10% of fuel in China in transport Sector is Methanol.

NITI Aayog has drawn out a comprehensive plan to replace 20% of crude imports from Methanol alone. Adopting Methanol in this scale would bring down pollution in the country by more than 40% and not to forget the benefits from import substitution.

Sources of methanol

Methanol can be produced from a wide variety of sources including still-abundant fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, oil shale, tar sands, etc.) as well as agricultural products and municipal waste, wood and varied biomass. It can also be made from chemical recycling of carbon dioxide.

Production of methanol

Today most methanol is produced from methane through syngas. Trinidad and Tobago is currently the world’s largest methanol exporter, with exports mainly to the United States. The natural gas that serves as feedstock for the production of methanol comes from the same sources as other uses.

Unconventional gas resources such as coalbed methane, tight sand gas and eventually the very large methane hydrate resources present under the continental shelves of the seas and Siberian and Canadian tundra could also be used to provide the necessary gas.

The conventional route to methanol from methane passes through syngas generation by steam reforming combined  with partial oxidation

Biomass → Syngas (CO, CO2, H2) → CH3OH

Advantages of methanol

1 . Methanol is a liquid under normal conditions, allowing it to be stored, transported and dispensed easily, much like gasoline and diesel fuel.

2 . It can also be readily transformed by dehydration into dimethyl ether, a diesel fuel substitute.

3 . Compared to gasoline, methanol is much safer. It is more difficult to ignite and releases less heat when it burns. Methanol fires can be extinguished with plain water, whereas gasoline floats on water and continues to burn. Switching fuels from gasoline to methanol would reduce the incidence of fuel related fires by 90%.

4 . An accidental release of methanol in the environment would, cause much less damage than a comparable gasoline or crude oil spill. Unlike these fuels, methanol is biodegradable and totally soluble in water, and would be rapidly diluted to a concentration low enough for microorganism to start biodegradation.

5 . Methanol burns efficiently in all internal combustion engines, produces no particulate matter, no soot, almost nil SOX and NOX emissions (NEAR ZERO POLLUTION).

6 . The gaseous version of Methanol – DME can be  blended with LPG and can be excellent substitute for diesel in large buses and trucks. To adopt methanol as a transport fuel, it requires minimal infrastructure modifications and capital both in vehicles and in terminal and distribution infrastructure.

Advantages in Indian context

India by adopting Methanol can have its own indigenous fuel at the cost of approximately Rs. 19 per litre at least 30% cheaper than any available fuel. Methanol fuel can result in great environmental benefits and can be the answer to the burning urban pollution issue. At least 20% diesel consumption can be reduced in next 5-7 years and will result in a savings of Rs. 26,000 crore annually.

Disadvantages of methanol

1 . High energy costs currently associated with generating and transporting hydrogen offsite.

2 . Depending on the feedstock the generation in itself may be not clean.

3 . Presently generated from natural gas still dependent on fossil fuels (although any combustible hydrocarbon can be used).

4 . Energy density (by weight or volume) one half of that of gasoline and 24% less than ethanol.

5 . If no inhibitors are used, methanol is corrosive to some common metals including aluminum, zinc and manganese. Parts of the engine fuel-intake systems are made from aluminum. Similar to ethanol, compatible material for fuel tanks, gasket and engine intake have to be used.

6 . As with similarly corrosive and hydrophilic ethanol, existing pipelines designed for petroleum products cannot handle methanol. Thus methanol requires shipment at higher energy cost in trucks and trains, until new pipeline infrastructure can be built, or existing pipelines are retrofitted for methanol transport.

7 . Methanol, as an alcohol, increases the permeability of some plastics to fuel vapors (e.g. high-density polyethylene). This property of methanol has the possibility of increasing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from fuel, which contributes to increased tropospheric ozone and possibly human exposure.

8 . Low volatility in cold weather: pure methanol-fueled engines can be difficult to start, and they run inefficiently until warmed up. This is why a mixture containing 85% methanol and 15% gasoline called M85 is generally used . The gasoline allows the engine to start even at lower temperatures.

9 . With the exception of low level exposure, methanol is toxic. Methanol is lethal when ingested in larger amounts (30 to 100 mL).Methanol may be metabolized in the body to formaldehyde, which is both toxic and carcinogenic.

10 . Methanol is a liquid: this creates a greater fire risk compared to hydrogen in open spaces as methanol leaks do not dissipate. Methanol burns invisibly unlike gasoline.

11 . Methanol is water-soluble: accidentally released, it may undergo relatively rapid groundwater transport, causing groundwater pollution .


3 .Important stats with respect to Renewable Energy released by government

1 . Renewable power installed capacity has reached over 70 GW.

2 . Globally, India stands 4th in wind power , 5th in renewable power and 6th in solar power installed capacity.

3 . Solar energy capacity increased to 22 GW.

4 . Wind energy capacity increased to 34 GW.

New schemes at advanced stages of being launched:

1 . KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) Scheme:
a . 27.5 lakh solar pumps (17.50 lakh standalone + 10 Lakh Grid-connected)
b . 10 GW of Solar Power Plants of intermediate capacity of 0.5–2 MW
c . 50,000 Grid-connected tube-wells/lift irrigation and drinking water projects

2 . SRISTI (Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India) – new scheme for solar rooftop being formulated.


4 . Geo -Intelligence Asia 2018 

The Eleventh edition of GeoIntelligence Asia 2018 organised by GeoSpatial Media and Communication with Directorate General of Information System as Knowledge Partners and Military Survey as Co-organisers, took place at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi on 04-05 June 2018.

The theme of Seminar was ‘GeoSpatial : A Force Multiplier for Defence and Industrial Security’. The seminar brought together the military, security officials including BSF and Police Forces, Government and industry together to examine the latest technology solutions and on the critical role of geospatial technology in military and security applications.